Salads for every season
Salads are the choice during the hot summer months, and everyone is aware of their healthy food worth. With a wise choice of dressings and vegetables, you can provide everything from a cleansing-palate close to a dinner to a meal that is enjoyable, varied, and wholesome, all year round. There are salads for every season.
Get new potatoes, with their paper thin skin. Scrub clean and boil for 10 to 12 minutes in salted water. Drain thoroughly, slice, and toss, still hot, in a vinaigrette dressing. Chill in the refrigerator. You can garnish before serving. Chopped chives are a great option, but if you don’t have herbs, wafer thin slices of onion, or finely chopped spring onions make a delicious potato salad.
Asparagus are a spring vegetable, cold asparagus can be served with a vinaigrette dressing, mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce. Asparagus, slices of cold new potatoes and mayonnaise are another option for a great spring salad.
There is still room for cold cooked beans, use canned beans for speed. Mix white beans, pinto beans and some green beans, cooked, tuna chunks, chopped onion and vinaigrette. You have a three bean salad.
Enjoy salad vegetables at their best. You will find a variety of lettuces; please, look beyond the iceberg, seek pleasing flavor and firm texture. You can prepare colorful salads only with salad leaves, from the pale green romaine, purple lettuce leaves, curly endives and firm dark green watercress.
Salad vegetables should be handled with care as they lose color and deteriorate easily. Tear off outer leaves, throw away bruised ones, but reserve the tough, dark, bitter lettuce leaves for cooking with peas and small onions, adding some tarragon, to prepare French style peas.
Wash the lettuce well, under running water, then drain or dry on a kitchen towel. Keep in the fridge, in the bottom draw, in a plastic bag or wrapped in kitchen paper. Prepare your favorite dressing in your salad bowl and add the salad leaves just before serving; you can also add chunks of tomato, tuna, olives or finely chopped onion. Toss lightly to coat the leaves with the dressing. No time to prepare vinaigrette? Fine, add all the ingredients to the bowl, salt and pepper to taste, extra virgin olive oil and toss. Nothing more required for a great summer salad.
Late ripening tomatoes shine at the beginning of the season. Wash, slice, and add them to a salad bowl that has been wiped around with a halved clove of garlic. Add, watercress and a vinaigrette dressing. Test the seasoning; you may need to add a bit of sugar and lemon juice. Chill before serving. You can scald and skin the tomatoes, if you do not like the skins, but a good deal of their vitamin content is lost. Not a vinaigrette lover? Just add fresh basil, slices of mozzarella cheese, salt and olive oil.
Roasted or grilled vegetables with a suitable dressing are another option for this season. Adding cheese, or any kind of local ham it will make a complete meal.
There are plenty of lettuces in the shops, mostly brought from far away or from hothouses, but you don’t need to consider them your only option. Make use instead of the wide variety of root vegetables. Shred some white cabbage, add apple slices, halved walnuts, mayonnaise; you have a classic. Celery root, or celeriac, finely sliced, blends well with mayonnaise, similar to coleslaw; grated carrots and turnips go with a vinaigrette dressing; carrot sticks with a ranch dip; celery with peanut butter.
These are some ideas to get started with winter salads, seeking the “fresh” feeling. If you are looking for something more filling, consider couscous, rice, or another cereal base for your salad.
Grow your own salad vegetables and herbs
There are many cut and grow again salad leaves available, choose either single variety or mixed leaves seeds packs and plant them in a sunny spot; keep them well watered and weed regularly. For a fresh, delicious, organic salad… just pick the leaves when you need them.
It is possible to grow salad vegetables. Don’t despair if you are not in the warm zone, choose a well sheltered spot in full sun; otherwise, tomatoes grow easily in the greenhouse. Use traditional containers or growing bags, have you thought of growing cherry tomatoes in a hanging basket? Tomato plants like potash when the fruits begin to show.
Peppers, like tomatoes, like sun, warmth, plenty of water and potash feed.
Some salad onions take only a few weeks to be ready.
Fresh herbs will help create gourmet salads. It is possible to have your very own herb garden in a windowsill. Herbs can grow in containers, in pots on the window – basil grows very well like this during the summer or a sunny yard.
Salad potatoes grow well in deep pots or cans – try deep plastic planters, some even come with an opening at the bottom for an easy potato harvest.